Chief Architect Gives us the Lowdown on NEWGIZA
NEWGIZA is hard to miss. Extending along one of the highest plateaus off the Cairo- Alexandria Desert Road, it is much more than a residential compound. With schools, well-equipped hospital, leisure and recreational facilities and a large 5-star hotel, NEWGIZA promisesto be a small city that offers an enviable lifestyle for its many residents.
The NEWGIZA Design Studio (NGDS)is headed by Chief Architect Amr Ghaly. Offering a wide range of design concepts for residents, NGDS’s guiding ethos is inspired by the spacious interiors of the past and the functional requirements of today’s modern world. Ghaly is supported by a highly-skilled team of architects and interior designers experienced in their field.Cairo West Magazine looked into what makes NEWGIZA such a sought-after location.
CWM:What are the particular challenges involved in creating such a huge project?
AG: The main challenge of NEWGIZA is that we are not building residential units but a town. This forces us to constantly develop new styles,all while incorporating our NG design guidelines using sustainable architecture. Currently, the proposed masterplan incorporates a number of sustainability strategies, which are readily implementable, and respond to the climatic conditions of Cairo.Each neighborhood is developed to ensure that residential units are designed in an energy-efficient manner.
In a nutshell, what words would you use to describe the architectural mood of NEWGIZA?
The aim of design at NEWGIZA is to foster innovative design blending a mix of urban and traditional models. Each neighborhood is planned to have its own unique design philosophy yet at the same time all neighborhoods will be homogenous. Uniquely, our neighborhoods easily adapt to our clients’ needs and we are able to introduce new concepts and styles when needed. For example, all villas located in each neighborhood, range in their elevation’s architecture style from classic, to contemporary, and modern, and all lookharmonious with one another. The villa style options located in each neighborhood are not restricted to anyone and there is a unit style for everyone, catering to all ages. We set out to optimize the use of building space and materials for environmental purposes, and energy efficiency.
How have you seen architecture transforming in Egypt over the past few years?
Over the past years, architecture in Egypt has become commercial and has neglected the need topreserve oldarchitectural elements. Sadly, by reducing the quality of materials and design elements it means structures are not as aestheticallyappealing as before.
To date, what is the most exciting project you have taken on?
Carnell Park residences, as they are designed without compromise and the unit types have never been seen in Egypt. The building entrance lobbies all have high ceilings with large windows,giving natural daylight and a sense of space that is liberating, whilst maximizing the visibility of the lush landscaping surrounding each executive flat. The finest details were taken into consideration, from external cladding resistant to the harshest weather conditions to the flooring and tiling. Wide walls (40 cm) stand between adjacent executive flats guaranteeing an intimate soundproof environment.
There is also access to a large basement area, comfortably accommodating a driver’s room and storage space available for each executive flat. Ensuring an aesthetically pleasing exterior, the circulation and ventilation systemis concealed underground. Designed exclusively as a pedestrian neighborhood, Carnell Parkkeeps the cars away, safely tucked underground in an elaborate infrastructure of parking and passages.
Where do you get your inspiration from while designing?
My inspiration comes from a mix of old buildings located in the Zamalek district of Cairo and Europe’s 20th century homes. This is most apparent with the design of Carnell Park, which was built using a holistic approach.
Old architecture provides a sense of belonging, a cozy feeling combined with beautiful surroundings that nourish the human spirit. The architecture of our buildings is unique without being alienating, implemented with exquisite detail that is both new but familiar, helping our home-owners feel relaxed and comfortable.
What materials and concepts were used throughout the project?
All units throughout take into consideration the following architectural elements:
- SPACE – All entrance lobbies have a spacious corridor with garden providing a soothing inner atmosphere.
- STRUCTURE- Each space has an implied center, which are often seen as a sequence of inter-related volumes using a diverse range of cement plaster and metal louvered screens and opaque glass.
- TEXTURE- The surface texture of unpolished marble or slate, off-form concrete, glass, mirrors, timber, and water animate the space, and absorb light. This ensures that creating a natural cooling system, which is energy efficient during the hot summers in Egypt, does not overheat the units.
- ELEMENTS – The implementation of classical architectural elements including cornices, flower boxes, redbrick, marble cladding and multi-paned window units.
- EXTERNAL FINISHES (use of redbrick cladding) -The use of a rich color scheme that acts as an insulating layer providing natural cooling for our executive flats. It’s also easy to maintain and ensures that quality remains intact over the years.
Are all building materials sourced from Egypt?
All materials used are sourced locally such as slate, red cladding, marble, etc., which are easy to maintain. Materials used in the building are long lasting and resistant to weather conditions and will not show peeling, like that of paint.